A new report on physician assisted dying from a provincial and territorial governments expert group echos calls the BC Humanist Association and others made earlier this year.
The report sets out a clear blueprint for how federal and provincial governments can implement last February's Supreme Court of Canada ruling that granted Canadians the right to choose a physician-assisted death.
The report recommends that physician assisted dying should be part of the public healthcare system and that access should be guaranteed. Access should be based on competence rather than restricted to those above an arbitrary age-limit. It would also allow patients to set out their wishes in an advance care directive. Physicians and faith-based institutions would only be allowed to opt-out of providing physician assisted dying if they provide a timely referral or patient transfer to a non-objecting physician or institution.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:
These recommendations put human dignity and choice front and centre. They are stark repudiation of the minority of religious leaders who argue for so-called "conscientious objection" clauses for physicians to opt-out of doing their job. We welcome these recommendations as a path forward. It's unfortunate that the Government of BC continues to lag behind leaders like Ontario and Quebec who have made ending suffering a priority.